Friday, August 22, 2014

Best Backstage Tour

So one big thing I did on my day with the new Leica M was go take a backstage tour of the Loew's Jersey Theatre off Journal Square in Jersey City. If you know me you know this in one of my favorite places in all of New York City. I first visited it to see a concert in 2004 and for the last 4 or 5 years I've been going there regularly to see movies, which it shows once a month in the not-summer months (as the building gets awful hot in the summer, and maybe for other reasons, too).

We started off in the theater's grand lobby.

This is the guy who introduces each film. The Jersey Loews is an entirely volunteer run, volunteer maintained, volunteer fixed-up operation. 

Those first few shots I took with my Leica 28mm f/2.8 lens, but from here on out I was using my Zeiss 35mm f/2.0.

From the lobby we headed into the theater.

Our tour guide and a photo of the theater before or during when they began fixing it up. The theater had been abandoned and slated for demolition in the 80s when the volunteers rescued it. The main auditorium had previously been split into three smaller theaters and they restored it to being one big theater.

We got to ride the rising orchestra pit up to the stage where we learned all about all the stage stuff. 

The stage floor is the only part of the whole building that's wood. In case of fire the asbestos curtain drops, lead weights on the skylight melt and let it swing open, and the stage burns up and falls into the trap room below.

This tour-member is probably looking at how the ceiling goes up 80 something feet above us.

Learning about the giant speakers they use for the shows.

Lowering the movie screen (it's full of holes and see-through so the sound of the speakers can go through it)

We went over and had a look at the lighting panel.

And ropes.

A choice of telephones.

A look at the theater's organ. When they show movies they always have an organist playing before the show. I've been trying to tell you for years that seeing movies at Jersey Loews is the best and this is a big part of it.

After the stage we went downstairs to see the changing rooms. This is when the tour started to get real and I was like "Aw man, I didn't know we were going to get to see this" over and over again.

We went into the sub-basement where they're using an old rehearsal space (as big as the stage!) to store things that they're working on. Like painting chair parts.

I did not ask about the sub-basement murders. JUST KIDDING! There were no sub-basement murders or murders of any kind. It's just paint on the walls! (or I am 98% sure it's just paint on the walls)

Then back through the theater,

And up to the loge, where volunteers have been fixing up seats and making it nice for 4 years now.

The promenade.

And a corner of the Men's Room.

Up even higher! Can you believe it?!

Went around the balcony,

And up into the projection room where we learned ALL about the projectors and film reels and soundsystem.

Around the corner from the projection room: windows.

And a view out onto the roof of the theater and a behind-the-scenes view of the statue on top of it.

1 comment:

Side of Jeffrey said...

Extremely jealous of this excursion. I assume Stephen would be as well...or any human who has been to the Jersey Loews.